SocialText license discussion--call for closure of arguments

Michael Tiemann tiemann at
Fri Jan 19 22:07:32 UTC 2007

Last December the SocialText folks made the decision to submit their
licnese for review, which we appreciate.  The license-discuss list has
been full of discussion, but that discussion has not yet been reduced to
a coherent argument either for or against.  Rather, we have heard many
many opinions as to what one person does or doesn't like about the
SocialText license, attribution in general, or positions that others
have advanced for or against either topic.

As I see it right now, either the OSI Board can attempt to pick up all
these disparate pieces, try to place them together (where they fit)
separate them (where they conflict) and then judge whether one position
or another is more compelling in light of the OSD.  That's an easy task
when all the pieces fit together and all land strongly to one side.
In the case of the SocialText license, I feel there's significant risk
that if we take on the responsibility of making the arguments, we may
create a bias that is not faithful to the real arguments you want to
make.  Therefore, we'd like to invite those who think we should not
approve the SocialText license to work out a common position on *why* we
should not approve it, which could inform how SocialText could remedy
your concerns.  And we'd like to invite those who think we should
approve it (or should approve it with some minor change) to work out a
common position on why we *should* approve it.  If one or both sides are
willing to do this, I think that the Board's decision process will
appear much more transparent.

One way or another, the Board owes SocialText and the open source
community a ruling, and we'd like to do as good a job as we can.  If the
challenge to organize is taken up, we'll set a timetable based on input
from the position leaders.  If no organization effort is apparent, the
board will take it upon itself to make the decision by the end of next
month (which gives time for one meeting to discuss and one meeting to
decide).  Thanks!


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